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CVRD inviting residents to groundwater license workshop

COURTENAY, B.C- Comox Valley residents looking for more information on their groundwater rights should head to the Lower Native Sons Hall in two weeks.

The Comox Valley Regional District, along with the provincial government, will be hosting a workshop on “existing use” groundwater licensing on April 16, as well as a public information session.

The event will be running from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Lower Native Sons Hall, with experts from the provincial Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development. Updates to the provincial water laws, as well as new requirements for groundwater licenses, will be discussed.

“Staff from the CVRD will share information about a new agricultural watershed planning project for the Tsolum River watershed, and an expert from the BC Ministry of Agriculture will discuss irrigation efficiency,” read the notice about the event.

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Farmers and other non-domestic well users are being invited to register for one of the workshop sessions at North Island College, which will be held at 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. on the same day.

“Participants will receive hands-on computer assistance to complete the licensing process, if their groundwater use was established before March 1, 2016,” read the notice.

“Existing groundwater users are required to submit their applications by March 1, 2019 in order to secure their water rights under BC’s new Water Sustainability Act.”

The requirements for farmers and non-domestic users are part of the changes made to the Water Sustainability Act, which had replaced the 100-year old Water Act.

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“I think it’s a great opportunity for people to come out and get some hands on help in completing their existing use groundwater license applications,” said Darry Monteith, an engineering analyst with the CVRD.

“We’ve heard from a number of people in the community that they’ve had trouble completing these applications on their own. This is an opportunity for them to sit down with provincial staff and get some assistance.”

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